Infertility from Dad’s Point of View

Chasnie has been asking me forever to write a blog post to add to this amazing project of hers and everytime she asks, I just tell her I plan to but I’m not sure what to write. In reality, I still have no idea what to write because at the end of the day, I don’t feel like I had to do much. Losing an unborn child is tough, losing multiple children is very tough, but it’s so much harder for the mom to go through. I didn’t know what it felt like to be carrying a child and for all of a sudden to just feel emptyness. I didn’t have to undergo multiple surgeries and have parts of my body removed. I didn’t have to deal with the pain of a ruptured tube and internal bleeding. All I did was be present, sit in the waiting room, pray for her safety, and simply keep family and friends up to date on the progress.

When it came to the actual process of IVF, here are just a handful of things I didn’t have to go through:

  • I didn’t have to take medication after medication or injection after injection.
  • I didn’t have to alter my lifestyle in an effort to increase the odds of getting pregnant.
  • I didn’t have to deal with mood swings, hot flashes and a changing body.
  • I didn’t have to undergo the actual act of childbirth!!
  • I didn’t need to, and 5+ months later, still do not have to deal with nursing, pumping, and planning my day around making sure Zayden can eat.

When he cries because he is hungry, it’s always her job to come to the rescue. All I can do is change diapers, get Chasnie what she needs, and try and make her difficult and tiresome job a little less strenuous. Even on my best of days I don’t even do the best job at this. Trust me, when Zayden gets hangry at 2am, it’s extremely easy to roll over and let her handle everything, but making myself wake up with her so I can change a dirty diaper and get her a glass of water while she gets ready to feed him, is the least I can do. And some nights even that is too difficult, so I can’t even imagine having to stay up for at least another hour. Of course, I have offered to stay up with him during a sleepless night, so she can (maybe) snag a couple of extra minutes to herself. But if I am being honest, Zayden at 4am is the most adorable thing you will ever see, so even then I’m getting the better end of the deal! I know in the long run our tasks will change and we’ll be able to share tasks more evenly. But at this point, I feel like my “job” as a dad is the easy end of the deal.

If you’re a guy getting ready to go through the IVF process, get ready to feel a little helpless and worthless. If you’re a dad that has been through the process, let’s take a moment to remember how much we didn’t have to endure in order to receive one of the greatest gifts of all time! As the days go by and life moves on, it’s easy to forget the struggle and sleepless nights. Even a mere 5 months after having Z, it’s easy to forget what it took to get where we are. And now I can’t imagine life any other way than having him here, with us.

And while I’m thinking about it: Chasnie, you are a rockstar. You have made sacrifices I will never comprehend, and for you they don’t even register as a sacrifice. You have always done whatever it is Zayden needs, without hesitation. You are a mother that all others should strive to be. God made you to be an amazing mom and that’s exactly what you have become. I will forever be grateful for what you have endured and your perseverance. I’m so proud to call you my wife and mother of my child. You are and always will be appreciated and loved!

-Jason, the spouse of the strongest woman ever

For more about our infertility journey or Chasnie’s Project take a few minutes for her video!



I have shared several times on this blog, “I am thankful.” There are so many things I am thankful for and there is no better time to share than Thanksgiving.   

1. I am thankful for a mighty Lord to bless us with all the opportunities given to us, especially the latest blessing, Zayden Gray Vinson.

2. Baby sneezes, because they are the most precious thing a newborn can do. Seriously, it makes me oh and aw every little sneeze.

3. I am thankful for fertility drugs and procedures.  As crazy as the drugs make you with mood swings, hot flashes and other random side effects, I am thankful for the outcome they can bring.

4. Our doctor’s/nurses and the wisdom given to them to help get us through the past 6+ years.

5. Our support system.  We have been overwhelmed with family, friends, coworkers, church family, wedding clients, and complete strangers that have gone over and beyond to support us.

6. A fairly “easy” pregnancy and labor.  Despite all odds, some struggles through it and a major backache, we made it through that pregnancy and labor like a breeze.

7. All the babies we lost over the years. ❤️

8. Etsy, because we’ll sometimes you just need that custom dinosaur height chart and you just don’t have time (or creativity) to do it myself.

9. A husband who is not only supportive and helps any chance he can get, but he has also become a master at changing dirty diapers.

10. A profession that can be flexible and the best clients a photographer could ask for.

11. Loving dogs that easily transitioned to having a newborn brother and only overwhelming him with kisses every other day. 

12. Eye contact with our baby boy. Gosh, when he looks at me with his eyes wide, my heart just melts and melts.

13. Meal trains and freezer meals.  If we didn’t have either of these during the first few weeks postpartum, we would be eating cereal for every single meal.

14. Parents that live (probably) a little too close. 😊 But always willing for a friendly stop by and to love on sweet baby Z and it’s just an added plus they will bring food or beer each visit.

15. A home that truly feels like our home.

16. Bouncy balls, because let’s face it..sometimes Zayden wouldn’t have fallen asleep, unless we had that giant thing to bounce him to sleep.

17. Baby baths. I have never seen a baby more relaxed than when Z is sprawled out in a warm bath! 

18. The ability to breastfeed and pump. This was one of my biggest fears, that my body wouldn’t produce what it needed to, but so far I’ve been blessed with the ability to do so.

19. Night lights to guide clutzy me throughout a dark house, with Baby Z.

20. Restless nights, because it means there is a reason to be restless and that reason is the best thing ever.

21. Zayden falling asleep on my chest. I may be one of those weird mom’s that encourages this forever because right now it is my favorite thing to do, cuddle and let him fall asleep on my chest. 

22. Bassinets right by the bed, so I can check on him any time throughout the night I need (or should I say want to).

23. Time for the body to heal.  The body is a crazy, intricate creation and to imagine you have the ability to create a little human is pretty incredible. But this body also needs time to heal and I am thankfuln to have that time  to do this.

24. Blogs, to get out all these thoughts in my head but to also have a space to tell our story and help others on their journey.

25. I am thankful for infertility struggles.  I used to take pregnancy for granted. It seems like everyone can get pregnant pretty easily, right?  Well, I was wrong and now I don’t take such a precious gift for granted.

Our “Plans”

The past couple of weeks I’ve been going over our “plan” in my head.  We had planned on having a few children by this age, we had planned to have adopted by now, we have planned…. and the list goes on.  I find myself making plans in my head about this pregnancy.. when I’ll go into labor, how we’ll get to the hospital, if we’ll have to do an emergency c-section or will he come naturally, and I realize my plans always fall through, every single time. I have been planning on a safe and healthy pregnancy and my mind has been filled with a bit of anxiety and worry recently.  As I’m trying to sort through the worry and anxiety, I came to the realization where we are in the year, 10/2017.  This time of the year has been such a bittersweet time filled with a wide variety of emotions, dating back to 09/2011.

This time in 2011, we were going through our first ectopic pregnancy surgery.  When we first found out we were pregnant, we celebrated (quietly) and told a few family/friends but it hit us hard when I started having some unfamiliar pains.  Unfamiliar pains turned into waiting, which turned into the inevitable, losing our 2nd child.  Despite our plans, that pregnancy ended up in a surgery, losing little one and tube #1 being removed.  Ironically, this time in 2016 (October 5th, 2016), we were going through our last loss.  This pregnancy not only ended up with us losing our 4th child, but losing my only other option to get pregnant naturally, tube #2.  As this all hits me, I am filled with bittersweet memories, anxiety and thankfulness.  Memories filling my heart and tears in my eyes as I imagine those lost sweet little ones up in heaven.  Anxiety that anything could go wrong with Zayden at this point.  All the “what ifs” swirl through my head daily, and honestly it’ll be difficult to get past those, but we will, eventually.  And thankfulness.  Thankfulness was a bit harder to come by at first because all the other junk flooding my mind, but we are so so thankful that Zayden is currently healthy and strong, continuing to grow every single day.

All my plans so far have fallen through, and I never understood why, until recently.  He’s pushed these “plans” of mine down because he had a much bigger and better plan.  And luckily, we’ll get to meet this incredible plan of His within a few short weeks.  I will not let the devil seep into my thoughts and push my anxieties and worry.  Because the Lord has this, He has a much better handle of His plan that I do.

My Infertility Project

I recently shared our news and a project I’ve been working on for some time.  It’s a very personal project to show, not just because of the struggles with infertility and everything that goes into it.  And I chose to share it publicly…with everyone, as a way to just show others what it’s like to go through something like this, but mostly to speak for those that DO know what it’s like yet haven’t shared their story just yet.  Infertility is not a subject that should be hushed, and I’ll not hesitate to speak about it.  It’s real, it’s extremely tough, and alot of times it doesn’t seem fruitful. WHAT IS FRUITFUL…. is sharing your story and helping others along the way.  That’s what He calls us to do.  I received so much overwhelming love, prayers, and feedback that I was blown away and still get emotional thinking about it.

As a result of several comments I received, I wanted to go into the project in a little more in detail to explain my viewpoint behind it all, what I was experiencing, and the moments of ups and downs as they go.  Consider it a behind the scenes…. tears, humor and weird moments. To see the project in its entirety, it’s up on my personal facebook page:

Our story began years before we started IVF, but this is where I started documenting things…. When you first think of IVF, you think of tons of shots and medications.  That presumption is 115% accurate. Injections and meds were my life from January til recently.  Not only do you have shots and meds, but you’re on a timed schedule with each one.  You may as well forget your social events in the evening, unless you plan to bring a few syringes and haul all your medication.  So shots, shots and more shots….

Next step was surgery, to clean things up and retrieve as many eggs as you can.  This is the moment we have been prepping for, so carefully with the injections.  And of course, with surgery comes recuperating time.

This wasn’t a super strenuous surgery, but it does require some down time.  And on top of this, you’re restricted from any form of working out before and after the surgery until you’re minimum 4 weeks after embryo transfer or until you miscarry.  THIS IS A LONG TIME, so there were several hours of lying around, resting and trying to prep my body to be the best home for little ones.

Finally, you make it to transfer day; you’ve been waiting on this day for awhile.  Your body and ovaries have been pumped full of medications.  You’ve been praying over this day since the beginning.  On retrieval day, we successfully retrieved 15 eggs, 13 fertilized and looked fantastic days 1-3.  Day 3-5 the doctors let the little embryos incubate and do not open to look at them again until Day 5.  So you pray those sweet 13 make it til Day 5. If you don’t receive a call on Day 5, you go in for your procedure…..that’s not what happened for us.  We received a call about two hours before the procedure.  The embryos looked so poor they wouldn’t even give them a grade.  This was the aftermath of that phone call and the most painful moments for me and I’m sure Jason…. All this work to what seems to be nothing.  Your world rocked and your hopes shattered.

When a doctor asks you what you want to do after you’ve gotten this far, let’s say your emotions are all over the place, and there was only one thing to do….you pray.  I mean, you get a little ticked off too…I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t so mad at the situation.  HOW CAN I GO THROUGH ALL THIS AND WE CAN’T GO ANY FURTHER??  So, you pray and pray and tell them you don’t care if they’re “below poor,” but you’re doing that transfer today.  So they asked us to wait in town for a few hours and they would pick the best two out of the bunch and “Hope for the best,” (their words, not mine..not exactly what you want to hear from your specialist the day of a transfer).  So you pray some more, you wait, you cry (alot) and you send texts to loved ones asking for more prayers.

After the transfer, which doesn’t seem incredibly hopeful at the time, you do everything humanly possible to insure your treating your body like a temple, you’re keeping your feet warm (IVF tip), and eating pineapple & its core (another tip), and you rest ALOT, You’re hopefully growing a little one in there and that’s all you can do.  And pray.  Oh, and continue taking your meds and shots.  Just because you transferred two embryos, does not mean the meds stop there…

And more shots…. Vinson Images-26

This may be one of my favorite photos from the project, because it accurately depicts my emotions and thoughts at this moment, while Jason just continues marching on.  If you think it’s easy to give your spouse an injection – you’re wrong, if you think it’s easy to let your spouse give you an injection – you’re really wrong.  If Jason were to mess up and hit a vein, I would get annoyed and have to be re-stuck with a needle one or two more times. And then Jason would get annoyed with me, because he’s literally doing the best he can and hitting a vein just happens sometimes.  Sometimes you bleed or injecting in a sore spot and there really isn’t anything either of us can do about it.  It doesn’t make for the best intimate moments with your spouse. Ha.  SO, this is my face after an argument about who’s doing the injection right.  He’s patiently trying to stick me and I’m sarcastically waiting.  Humorous now…..kinda.

Then you wait…and wait.  You want to take 1,000 pregnancy tests but there isn’t a point.  Over the years I’ve had false positive tests and false negative tests, so I decided no pregnancy tests were going to be taken, except for the ones the doctor performs.  This was difficult, waiting and trusting…but we did it.  Next, you test with the doctor and your numbers kinda suck…. and you’re back on that emotional roller coaster that you had hoped to have gotten off and never gotten back in line again.  But you do.

And you wait some more…. then, you start to feel a pain here or a sensation there and you think, “Oh maybe this is a viable pregnancy?”  And it hits you, like a 145 lb Great Dane running full force at you and knocking the wind out of you (trust me, I’ve been there) ….you get your first spout of morning sickness.  Little did I know that “morning sickness” has nothing to do with the morning, it was a pure all day sickness.  During this entire time, I’m still working of course.  Because I mean you’re paying for IVF, and working is a requirement just to get by.  When I had morning sickness in the past, I’d be cozied up in the comfort of my home, but that’s not the case this time.  My first morning sickness spout we had just finished up a wedding in Maine. The wedding was beautiful, the couple was beyond amazing and the following day, while we’re waiting in the airport, all the morning sickness for the entire day hits.  Flight delays happen, sleeping on the floor occurs, and more sickness…everywhere.   One of the last places I want to experience all day sickness is in a public place, let alone an airport where nothing seems to help.  But you deal, because THIS IS A GOOD SIGN!

You semi hope the sickness stops, but you also pray it doesn’t because morning sickness is a fantastic sign of high levels of hormones for a healthy pregnancy.  So I prayed for that morning sickness, no matter how miserable it made me…I wanted it.  And God provided.

Finally, you’re to a “safe” point in the pregnancy and you’re so excited but don’t want to tell anyone.  You ask your parents and a few, close friends to keep quiet and continue to pray.  You see, we’ve been here before and I wasn’t interested in announcing yet ANOTHER pregnancy and weeks later telling everyone that we lost the little one.  It’s heartbreaking and it’s such an awkward conversation to have to explain to people.  And then you get the “ahhs” of pity, that completely mean well, but deep down it ticks you off because you weren’t able to do the one thing you are made to do, keep that baby alive.   So this time, I chose to just kept quiet, but secretly we rejoiced (cautiously).

I wish I could confidently say this will be an incredible pregnancy and we will finally get to hold our healthy, breathing little one in November.  I’m praying every day that we get this opportunity….but we don’t know right now.  We optimistically wait for the next doctor appointment and continue to wait one more day for our sweet little one to arrive.  Vinson Images-49

Our story and my project doesn’t stop here…it will continue.  For now, I look back and am thankful for the journey, thankful for the sarcastic remarks to each other, the arguments, the pain, the tears and the spurts of joy.  And we wait to see what comes next!

Feel free to read past blog posts and catch up on our entire journey this year.  


What glow…

“Um, excuse me dear ‘pregnancy glow’ are you just a figment of people’s imagination or do you only visit certain people?  Because I think you’ve skipped over me this time.”  Instead, I’m super exhausted and looking pretty raggedy; however, no complaints here, because God is giving us one of the greatest gifts ever.  Life.

Baby V is the size of a Clementine orange!  Crazy to think that’s what I have inside of me right now.  We’ve been reading on what’s happening with them at the moment, currently little ones figure out how to swallow, which develops their gut. To know how intricately we’re all made, it blows my mind what God has created.  It truly is a miracle.

Other aspects of the pregnancy, I’ve been feeling meh, but I think that comes with the territory.  Sleepless nights, headaches, and exhaustion are the biggest symptoms at the moment, along with a side of all day sickness that comes and goes.  It’s like a ninja, you don’t see it coming and you never know when it’s going to strike, then quickly sneaks away again.  I joke, but it’s really weird feeling.  I’ve had pregnancy symptoms in the past, but this time it’s different.  It again, just solidifies how intricately we are all made.

We continue to pray that Baby Vinson is doing good, kicking butt in there and growing strong.  We haven’t had any other appointments and will not be back for a couple more weeks.  Which is a little bitter sweet to me.  We are approaching on our longest lasting pregnancy yet, but in the back of my mind there is that lingering thought of what’s going to happen, when will things go awry?  Obviously, we hope not, but we can’t spend every waking minute worrying about what’s to come.  I have constantly reminded to put my trust in God, believe in His plan, and go along His path.  I keep saying, You’ve got this, when in reality, He’s got this (THANKFULLY!)  And for this I’m so incredibly thankful.  WHAT could possibly be better than knowing that God has this all in his hands.

I think back to moments of struggle of my faith, my relationship with husband and friends, and it all boils down to me not trusting God’s way.  With support from others and seeking out strength in the Lord, I’ve really been able to find some peace in those past moments and the downs that we don’t foresee just yet.  So, who cares about the “glow,” what matters is letting go of the anxiety, fear, and worrying about the unknown and relying on what Jesus has in mind for us. So I’ll just be over here not glowing… 🙂 but patiently waiting in peace.

Thankful & in need of strength..

Thankful for all the incredible people in our lives that are saying prayers for our levels to increase!  And they did!  Again, praise the Lord!  Our levels increased to 2,362, which is a healthy increase that I will not complain about!

I cannot complain about anything else either.  Every step on this journey, I’m going to be thankful.  Currently, the hubs is sick, like sick sick (sicker than the normal man cold), and hasn’t been able to help much around the house when I’m exhausted.  In addition, he’s leaving for India tomorrow and then on the 16th, we meet in Maine for a wedding.  Therefore, the stress level is a bit higher than I’d like and the house isn’t as germ-free as I would prefer and we aren’t at our healthiest, but we’ve got to be thankful.  This morning I got down on my knees and thanked God that Jason was going through this sickness…I didn’t know WHY he was going through this sickness, but it is for a reason and maybe to get it out of his system before he travels to a foreign country..I’m not even going to pretend to know why he is, but it’s for a reason, so we should be thankful for it.  Thankful for this sickness and for the stress that tends to come with it.

Although, we’re thankful, we’re also a wee bit nervous.  Because our next Dr. appointment is next Friday.  On the 10th, we get our 6 week ultrasound done and this is exciting but oh, so nerve wracking.  Ultrasounds – I’ve had plenty of those bad boys.  They can be really exciting, especially when you finally hear that heartbeat and the Dr. says, “Everything looks good.”  Except, we’ve never experienced this.  It’s always been silent and cold, as you see the smile slowly fall off the nurse’s face, and you have this awkward moment where you know, she knows you know it’s bad news.  You just nod and suck it up and hold strong to not cry til she leaves the room.  She scurries to grab a doctor and you receive the inevitable, the only news you didn’t want to hear that day.

There was one time,  we heard a heartbeat, well I heard a heartbeat.  I was going back to an emergency surgery and he couldn’t be with me in the room.  I heard a heartbeat, a strong one, and the nurse quickly said, that’s just your blood flowing, not a heartbeat.  Later to find out, she was just trying to comfort me because it was a heartbeat, a heartbeat inside my fallopian tube.  It was our 2nd ectopic pregnancy and that little one wasn’t a vital pregnancy and unfortunately we lost him/her. 😦  I really, really don’t want to experience this again.  I need to hear a strong heartbeat.  I want to have the doctor exclaim, “Everything looks great!”  I desire to feel that inside of me.  I need that, but maybe God may have a different plan and I know this.  Therefore, I need strength to get through this next week.  I need peace to do this ultrasound fearlessly, and without losing my mind.  Jason will be missing this ultrasound (in India), so I’ll be doing this solo.  Well, I say solo, but I know God will be by my side and I’ll also probably bring my mom with me.  I’ll just make her wait in the waiting room because if it’s bad news, I’d rather lose it by myself than with her there.  I cope better that way.  So strength.  I need you this week. In the meantime, I’ll just be thankful.

Losing Track

I’ve been quiet for a few days, just processing some things.  Processing test results, results that aren’t the best, but good enough to keep moving forward with IVF; processing my emotions, wow… this all is an emotional roller coaster; processing the anxiety and overwhelming feeling I have for upcoming changes.  Just a few things to take in, and all of it can cause you to lose track of….well, everything.

While receiving results that are basically subpar (my words, not the doctors words), I hit a wall of frustration, anxiety, fear all at one time.  Add what all this medication does to your hormones, and take those items times about 8.  So all the feelings on steroids.  Ha.  It’s not exactly controllable and sometimes not manageable.  And then add the spouse being out of town for a week and all the things he normally handles breaking.  I mean, not all the things, it was just a door handle, fence, washer, and some things with the car.

Needless to say, I was feeling a little overwhelmed.  Luckily, the good Lord knows exactly what I need when I need it.  He sent my sweet friend and neighbor over to just catch up.  I rambled on and on about everything under the sun, and I probably complained a little too much over items that are so minuscule in the big scheme of things. She listened patiently, asked questions, and she listened some more.  And then the catching up turned into something much more.  She asked to pray over me.  I really can’t even finish typing this without tears filling my eyes.  Because in the midst of chaos, stress, fear, and anxiety the one thing I haven’t done like I should have been, was praying.  Thankfully, she knew what was needed and she didn’t hesitate to pray over me.  Thank you sweet girl.

I guess that leads me to my thought for the day….whatever it is you’re worrying about, fearing, stressing over…remember to pray.  We have no control over what direction this IVF or adoption process will go, but He knows what will happen, He does have control, and He will provide.

“Do not worry about anything; instead pray about everything.”  Philippians 4:6


If only it was all sunshine and puppies..

If you see me out and I look a bit tired, that’s probably pretty accurate.  If my eyes are blood shot and it looks like I’m on drugs, your perception is correct.  If I am looking a little frazzled lately…well, I am.  

I mean, I met my husband for dinner before we head out of town for our next IVF appointment  bright and early at 7:30 am, and I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and wowzers, I instantly classified myself as all of these things.  And then I got in the car and cried about a finger painting of a wet dog, if that explains my emotional state in the least bit. Ha.. 

The exhaustion is real…Not that it is realistic for really anyone to get 7-8 hours of sleep, but it is generally pretty difficult for me to hit 4-5 hours of sleep a night.  A couple of side effects from the meds are fatigue and insomnia.  Check and check.  On top of this, add 12 hours of driving to appointments within 4 days, sleeping in different environments, and sharing a bed with your mom and then 2 nights of sharing a bed with your nephews (big mistake)..all affect your sleep of course.  So, if I look a little tired…give me a break. 😴

If I appear to be drugged up, well maybe I am.  And yes, I am just talking about meds prescribed to me.  Give me that levothyroxine, lupron, birth control, gonal-f, mepro-something, etc.  These are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head.  Of course, they are just hormones or meds to assist in making the perfect environment to cute little fertilized eggs.  Clearly, it is necessary but it will sure mess with your emotions, how your body feels and looks physically, and how you react to basic things. Like a finger painting of a wet dog may just make you cry.. I still don’t know why I cried…was the dog just so happy I couldn’t handle it?  Was the picture so beautiful that I was overwhelmed? Or was it just because I am a dog obsessor and I just needed it. Ha…we will never know.

If I appear to be a little frazzled, well if the above didn’t explain my frazzlement enough… Add your normal daily stressors to it.  You’re emotions are high, your activities are limited, you are pumping your body with hormones on a daily basis all while trying to be level headed and appear “as normal as possible.”  So I don’t have to explain why I have a short temper, why I may laugh uncontrollably in the middle of a work day to avoid busting into tears (ya, that works for me a lot…occasionally it will backfire to full blown tears, so ha you never know).

Of course, none of these are complaints, just pure explanations of why I may look the way I do.  Although I appreciate your comments like, “You look tired,” just feel free to just keep that to yourself, because trust me, I know.  I am just a little busy making sure I make it through the day with all the things circling through this drugged up, emotionally unstable head of Mine exploding all over you.

 Instead of your comment, you can feel free to say a little prayer for J’s sanity for putting up with me, show me a puppy video, & give me a high five.  Those are all incredibly helpful! 😀 

Added to edit: Of course, my husband didn’t even seem to notice my frazzled-ness.  He makes me feel beautiful, no matter how I look or act.  God definitely knew what He was doing when He brought him into my life.